Lawsuit claims Porter Adventist contaminated surgical tools led to infections

DENVER -- A 93 page lawsuit claims former patients of Porter Adventist Hospital got infections like Hepatitis C after undergoing surgery at the hospital during a window where surgical tools were contaminated.

Sixty-seven former patients are listed as plaintiffs, along with 20 spouses in the suit against Centura Health which runs the hospital.

Back in 2017, the Joint Health Commission investigated claims of surgical instruments that weren’t thoroughly sterilized along with the Colorado Department of Health.

Back in April 2018, The Problem Solvers learned Porter Adventist waited six weeks to warn patients of sterilization failures, after the Joint Commission’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety issues “a Preliminary Denial of Accreditation decision.”

The hospital briefly suspended surgeries, before resuming after about a week.

The infection breach, which lasted roughly two years, could have affected 5,800 orthopedic and spine surgery patients.

The hospital sent out letters to patients, warning them to get tested for HIV, and Hepatitis B and C, and later admitted the breach was caused by human error, with employees not properly wiping down equipment.

The lawsuit cites the Joint Health Commission’s investigation, saying over the course of 13 months, they found 129 instances of “incomplete removal of gross surgical contamination.”

It included finding things like chunks of bone found inside some of the pans, rust and blood on drills, hair and even a dead bug found in one surgical tray.

The lawsuit also points of violations of state and federal law, and claims Porter Adventist didn’t accurately report issues to the health department, and part of the issues came from under-staffing.

The lawsuit also mentions one patient who died from an infection after surgery at the hospital.

Porter Adventist released the following statement to FOX31 following our story:

We acknowledge the concern of these patients and are aware of existing lawsuits stemming from a review by CDPHE of the pre-cleaning process of surgical instruments prior to sterilization which was identified in February 2018. To protect the privacy all involved, we will be addressing this matter through the legal process which is underway. As an outcome of the CDPHE investigation, we continue to provide reports to CDPHE that confirm Porter Adventist Hospital continues to meet the sterilization process guidelines of CDPHE.

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